Saturday, April 12, 2014

Random Photo: Bird House

Bird house, UW Arboretum ~ Madison, WI ~ March 25, 2012

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Skywatch Friday 55

From the evening of Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday

Thursday Thirteen 329: Slipper Socks

My feet always seem cold, especially during winter. Living above an unheated basement does not help. There were times during those endless below freezing days this past winter when I was actually wearing two pairs of slipper socks -- sometimes over a regular pair of socks. Here are thirteen pairs of slipper socks from my vast collection.

The pair I'm wearing right now.

A favorite pair, these are loose enough to fit over other pairs, and have a nice cuff.

A not so favorite pair, these were a gift I rarely wear.

My favorite style, these are more like booties than actual socks,
but the style is impossible to find anymore.

More Thursday Thirteen Lists

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Wordless Wednesday 128: Sidewalk Reflections

Photos taken Friday, March 14, 2014 as the mounds of snow finally started to melt. These were taken along a nearby bike path, where snowmelt with nowhere else to go pooled across the pavement.


Wordless Wednesday

Create With Joy

Monday, April 07, 2014

Teaser Tuesday 214: The Widow's Walk

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

This week I am teasing from a book due out the end of this month, a copy of which I received through Goodread's "first reads" program, and the first one I have won from them in three years. This is from the opening of The Widow's Walk by Robert Barclay.

Her name was Constance Elizabeth Canfield, and for as long as she could remember, she loved gazing at the ocean.

No matter the weather, Constance found the froth-topped waves reassuring and filled with promise. In her world she could rely upon few things, but the waves were always there. She loved their consistency of purpose, and their constant determination to assault the rocky shoreline that lay so near her house. She also found them exciting, because they would one day bring her husband back to her. So she patiently watched and waited as they worked their welcome magic on her lonely soul.


In the spirit of The Notebook and The Time Traveller's Wife comes Robert Barclay's haunting and romantic novel of passion, destiny, loss and an eternal love that will bring two people together across time . . .

His name was Garrett Richmond and he had always wanted to live by the ocean. So when the opportunity to buy-and renovate-the old home known as Seaside arrived, he leapt at the chance. Never mind that his friends and family thought he was crazy, he knew he could return this lonely mansion, worn by time, wind, and neglect, to its former beauty. But Seaside was more than just a project; it was spot that had called to him his entire life.

And then one night he saw her.

Her name is Constance Elizabeth Canfield and she tells him Seaside has been her home for over 150 years. But Constance is no ghost; rather, she claims that she has been somehow magically trapped between this life and the next. At first, Garrett can't believe her crazy story-the woman had to be lying! And yet, there was something about Constance that was from another time . . .

Soon this mysterious woman, and flesh and blood man share a closeness they cannot deny. But just as their love begins to bloom, Constance's presence starts mysteriously fading away, soon to be gone forever. Is their love doomed-or is it strong enough to transcend time, and even death itself?

DISCLAIMER: A free copy of this book was received from the publisher through Goodreads. As this is an uncorrected proof, text may be different than the short passage quoted here.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Candy Shoppe

I bought this kit last year when I saw it on clearance, with the intention of doing it as a Christmas present for a friend. Between one project and another, this one kept getting shoved aside--and it's not like i could work on it in front of her during one of our craft weekends. It's not that I haven't worked on something for her in front of her before, but those projects were harder to tell what and whom they were for, and I wanted this one to be a surprise.

During the interminably cold month of January, when everyone was sick and stuck indoors, I finished it over the course of two weeks. When I mentioned that I had completed a project for someone, but wasn't sure whether to save it for Christmas or birthday, I was told "birthday -- that way she'll have it for Christmas." So, the lucky recipient received it last Sunday and, as expected, loved it.

Now to start working on this year's Christmas presents . . .

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Random Photo: Second Sign of Spring

The first sign of spring was green stuff -- daffodil shoots starting to come up through the slowly thawing earth. This morning a big old robin stopped a few feet in front of me, and kindly consented to pose before we both went on about our day. Now if it only felt like spring!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Skywatch Friday 54

It's amazing how much the sky can change over the course of twelve hours, how different it can look east to west. These are a series of photos taken on Friday, March 14.

This was taken about 8am, looking southeast out my front window.

These next two are around the same time, taken from a side
window looking northwest. We had light showers early in the
morning, and the clouds had yet to dissipate.

I was home early enough from work, that I decided on a walk before dinner.
This was taken looking southeast, about 5:30pm.

As I continued along the nearby bike path, the sky began to cloud up again.

I did not notice the tinge of orange in the clouds in this one,
until I uploaded it to the computer.

Thankfully, I made it back home long before it started to rain.

LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday

Thursday Thirteen 328: Random

At a loss of time or ideas for this week, I am borrowing from a recent Sunday Stealing.

1. Do you know triplets? No, but I have known several sets of twins.

2. Do you prefer Titanic or The Notebook? Seriously? One ending is just as depressing as the other.

3. Have you ever eaten Indian food? Ugh, too spicy for me.

4. What’s the name of your favorite restaurant? There are many that I like, but I wouldn’t say I have a favorite. We usually end up at either Applebee's, Olive Garden or The Nitty Gritty for celebrations.

5. Would you rather live in a rural area or in the suburbs? What, urban isn’t a choice? I like my medium-sized city, thank you very much.

6. Can you whistle? Yes. To quote Ms. Bacall: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow"

7. Do you sleep with a nightlight? No, but I do have one in the bathroom. It's an interior room with no windows, and I don’t like turning on the overhead at night.

8. Do you eat breakfast every morning? Yes. Some days healthier than others.

9. Do you take any pills or medication daily? Allergy medication as needed, as well as something for the occasional headaches.

10. How many times have you been to the hospital as a patient? Zero, and I'd prefer to keep it that way as long as possible.

11. Have you ever seen Finding Nemo? Yes, several times. I own the movie on DVD.

12. Do you usually remember your dreams in the morning? Yes, often. I am usually a lucid dreamer and go through periods where the dreams are more vivid, active and memorable. Those weeks can really wear a person out.

13. What flavor tea do you enjoy? I have never acquired a taste for tea, hot or cold.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Teaser Tuesday 213: The Perfect Hope

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

This week I am teasing from a book I have almost finished, The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts. This is book three of a trilogy.

Something turned inside her, a slow, liquid spin, and another, another, that left her dizzy, left her weak.

She breathed out his name as his lips slid over her, featherlight now. A drug seeping into her blood.

(Chapter 13)

Book three of the "Inn BoonsBoro" trilogy

Ryder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out - with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He's surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a toolbelt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except, apparently, Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro...

As the former manager of a D.C. hotel, Hope is used to excitement and glamour, but that doesn't mean she can't appreciate the joys of small-town living. She's where she wants to be — except for in her love life. Her only interaction with the opposite sex has been sparring with the infuriating Ryder, who always seems to get under her skin. Still, no one can deny the electricity that crackles between them . . . a spark that ignited with a New Year's Eve kiss.

While the inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope's experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome — and embarrassing — appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs up Ryder's emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him...

Final Four!


The Badgers mens basketball team is headed to the NCAA championship's Final Four. This weekend marked the first time since 2005 that the Badgers had made it to the "Elite Eight," and they were one of three Big Ten schools to do so. Saturday's game was a close one, with the score seesawing back and forth all night and going into overtime. Then came the longest 2.3 seconds ever, the final 2.3 seconds of the game. Officials took more than five minutes to review and determine who had final possesion of a ball knocked out of bounds. First they gave it to Wisconsin, went back to review the footage a few more times, then gave it to Arizona. Thankfully, Badger defense prevailed and Bucky won it 64-63.

Crowds spilled onto State Street from every direction following the game, jamming the lower two blocks for hours. I heard one crowd estimate of 10,000. Police were prepared for the possibilty of such an event, win or lose, and say that the boisterous crowd was well-behaved. There were no reports of arrests, injuries, or property damage -- though one officer said a construction crew would have to check their scaffolding Monday, after hundreds of fans clambered atop the structure in celebration.

Sadly, the story was quite different in Arizona, where fans rioted, destoyed property, and blocked the road leading onto campus. Tear gas was used to disperse the crowd, and at least sixteen arrests were made. Here's hoping the Badger fans behave as decorously as they did this weekend after Saturday's game, whether they win or lose.

Both of today's games were close ones that were tied several times. UConn knocked Michigan State out of the running with a 60-54 win, and Kentucky beat Mighigan by three with a 75-72 final. Florida was the fourth winner of the weekend, in Saturday's early game against Dayton. Bucky faces off against the Kentucky Wildcats at 7:49pm CDT this coming Saturday -- and seriously, who came up with these weird-ass start times? Saturday's game also had a 7:49 start time, and the first game played today was a 1:20 start. We are, of course, having a Final Four party next weekend.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Random Photo: Green Stuff!

Last Sunday I was over to a friend's house to help take down and put away what we could of her Christmas decorations. While we were able to get some of it down, other items were still frozen to the ground, and her candy canes are still partially buried in a snow drift. With the temperature expected to hit 60 today, hopefully a good chunk of that will melt. It'd be nice to get the Christmas decs down before Easter.

Anyway, look what we found around the patio edges, as we were disassembling and carting stuff into the garage -- GREEN STUFF! The daffodils are trying to push their way up. A little late this year, but welcome all the same.

ETA: What a difference a week makes. Apparently, she was able to get all but two candy canes in yesterday. The last two are still partially buried by snow, but with temps in the 40s to upper 50s this week, there's hope that they will be freed from their icy prison by next weekend.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Two cards

Last Saturday, I attended a Stampin' Up workshop hosted by a friend. We made two cards during the course of the afternoon. I am kicking myself for not charging my camera Friday night as planned -- I would have liked to get a photo of all the dress cards together. Although we all used the same paper and accessories, everyone's card turned out just a little bit different. Some people made the dress all one print, a couple of us did the top in this solid turquoise color. While Maria made her's a pullover type blouse, I made mine into a cardigan. Some had ruffles at the waist, others at the hem. Some had pearl jewelry, or a belt. As I said -- kicking myself. I've linked to products used where I could.

Materials: Dress Up Framelits, Oval Framelits, SU Ribbon,
Stampin' Up papers, Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder,
Basic Pearls Jewel Accents,

Stamps: Starburst Sayings, Banner Blast (Sale-a-bration set)
Paper & Ink: Stampin' Up; Accessories:  Banner punch,
Decorative Dots embossing folder, Starburst Framelits 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Skywatch Friday 53

State Capitol * Madison, WI * July 2012

LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Thursday Thirteen 327: Reading Quotes

To close out National Reading Month, here are a few quotes on reading.

1. "A book is a device to ignite the imagination."
― Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader

2. "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."
― Charles William Eliot

3. "Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened, and invigorated: by the other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished, and confirmed."
- Joseph Addison

4. "No matter what his rank or position may be, the lover of books is the richest and the happiest of the children of men."
- J.A. Langford

5. "The habit of reading is the only enjoyment I know in which there is no alloy. It lasts when all other pleasures fade. It will be there to support you when all other resources are gone. It will be present to you when the energies of your body have fallen away from you. It will last you until your death. It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live."
- Anthony Trollope

6. "A first book has some of the sweetness of a first love."
- Robert Aris Willmott

7. "No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting."
- Lady M. W. Montagu

8. "Of all the things which man can do or make here below, by far the most momentous, wonderful, and worthy are the things we call books."
- Thomas Carlyle

10. "The love of books is a love which requires neither justification, apology, nor defense."
- J.A. Langford

11. "All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was."
- Ernest Hemingway

12. "Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home."
― Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

13. "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

More Thursday Thirteen lists

Monday, March 24, 2014

Teaser Tuesday 212: Aunt Dimity: Snowbound

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

Recently finished ~
Aunt Dimity: Snowbound by Nancy Atherton

I made good speed up the lane. It was easy to follow, straight and level, with steep banks on either side, and the ferocious wind helped, too, pushing at my back like a giant hand, as if eager to hurry me on my way. Nevertheless, the snow was shin-deep and rising by the time I spied the ghostly outline of a building dead ahead.

(Start of Chapter 3)

Series: Aunt Dimity #9

Lori Shepherd and the phantom Aunt Dimity have become one of the mystery genre’s most celebrated detective duos. In their latest adventure, a pleasant woodland stroll through the English countryside is rudely cut short by the blizzard of the century, forcing Lori to take shelter in Ladythorne Abbey—an old pile still haunted by the presence of the madwoman whose prison it once was. But the abbey’s greatest secret is the priceless jewel it conceals somewhere within its cloisters—an heirloom that hides a treacherous past that Lori’s fellow guests can’t wait to get their hands on. Only Aunt Dimity’s indispensable wisdom can help Lori unravel a mystery that is considerably thicker than the accumulating snow in this page-turning treat.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Skywatch 52

Magnolia blossoms, March 2012
Longenecker Garden * Madison, WI.

We had record setting highs in March 2012 -- a good forty degrees above normal -- which had all the trees and flowers confused. Plants were blooming 6-8 weeks ahead of schedule. While March brought unsual warmth that year, April plunged us back into winter temperatures, making for a rough planting season. This year? While we've had one or two days above normal, the majority of it has been below average -- with at least another two weeks of below normal temps predicted -- and not a single leaf or blossom to be seen.

LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thursday Thirteen 326: Authors/Series to Catch up On--Cozy Edition

March is National Reading Month. Last week I shared thirteen authors I need to catch up on. Here are thirteen more, all cozy mystery authors. If you like mysteries, but abhor blood, guts and violence, you might want to give cozies a try. I like suspense, but sometimes you want something a wee bit lighter. Click on any link to find out more about a particular author or series.

1. Sheila Connolly -- I have fallen behind in her Orchard series, with four to catch up on, and have four in her Museum series to read (with another out in June). Being that far behind in two series, I have decided to skip her new County Cork series. Connolly also writes as Sarah Atwell, and I have read one book in her Glassblowing series.

2. Kate Carlisle -- I read the first couple books in the Bibliophile series, have four to catch up on, am missing one, and book eight is out in June.

3. Casey Daniels -- I read the first four Pepper Martin books, but the last five are still sitting on my nightstand. I also have some of her Button Box books under her Kylie Logan pseudonym.

4. Nancy Pickard -- Read the first four in her Jenny Cain series, have six more in Mount TBR.

5. Aaron Elkins -- I read the first four of his Gideon Oliver/Skeleton Detective series, with twelve more in Mount TBR, and one newer volumn I do not yet have.

6. Michele Scott -- I read the first couple Wine Lovers books, and have five more in Mount TBR.

7. Annette Blair -- I've faired better with this author -- only two Vintage Magic books to catch up on. She also wrote the Accidental Witch and Triplet Witch trilogies -- two racey paranormal-romance series I enjoyed.

8. Susan Wittig Albert -- I read the first couple Beatrix Potter books, and have the last six to catch up on. I also have the first two China Bayles books to read -- out of 22. I am not going to acquire any more books in that series or her newer Darling Dahlias until I've caught up on those I already have.

9. Julie Hyzy -- I have three Manor House and four White House Chef books to read. I had trouble finding book two in the WH series, and I dislike reading series out of order so . . . I fell behind. There are also two books in the series I do not have yet.

10. Ellery Adams -- I am not as far behind with this author, only one book in the Books by the Bay series and two in the Charmed Pie Shoppe series. She also writes as JB Stanley, whose books I have not tried.

11. Nancy Atherton -- I am reading book nine of her Aunt Dimity series right now, with six more in Mount TBR and four I do not have yet.

12. Joyce and Jim Lavene -- I've read the first one or two books in a couple series of theirs, with a few more of each in Mount TBR: Missing Pieces, Sharyn Howard, Renaissance Faire. and Peggy Lee Garden. This couple also writes under a number of pseudonyms.

13 Charlaine Harris -- Most people only know her for the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse series (I still have the last two to read), but long before Sookie she wrote three cozy mystery series. I loved the Lily Bard series -- read a few years ago -- and Lily and husband made guest appearances in a couple of the Sookie books. I read two of the Aurora Teagarden series and have six more to read, plus there's the four-book Harper Connolly series.

Your turn -- Have you read any of these authors/series? Any of them catch your eye?

Thursday Thirteen